Chinese nets getting a makeover
Chinese nets often touted as the landmarks of Kochi since time immemorial are now getting a face lift, which will enhance its utility in the changing times. These innovative fishing nets are thought to have brought in by a Chinese explorer, Zheng He in the mid-fifteenth century. Chinese nets known as cheenavala in local parlance are fixed along the shores with the nets dropped down into the water at night, which will be manually pulled up at day break to collect the fish trapped inside. A few of these land-based fishing structures have been motorised where the net will be pulled by motors instead of the traditional method of being pulled by 4 to 6 men.
There are over 25 Chinese nets dotting the shores of Fort Kochiand Vypeen. Two of these have been mechanised so far. The traditional operation of these Chinese nets, which have a 20-metre span is labour intensive and as it is very hard these days to find labourers to pull it, some of the owners decided to motorise it. Although the maintenance cost is higher, they are hopeful of getting good results in the long run.
However, there are different schools of thought on this issue as some feel that mechanising these ancient structures is not a good idea. While men pull these nets up, they can adjust the pulling power according to the wave’s strength whereas in the motorised version it is not possible. If the wave and the motor pull the supporting poles of the net in opposite directions, it could snap the nets causing financial loss says the fishermen.Only time will tell whether it is a feasible option or not; but for the time being these innovative Chinese fishing net owners who had hit upon this novel venture is upbeat as they can keep the nets operational without having to worry about the availability of labourers. Also check out the blog Maddy’s Ramblings,which tells you more on the Chinese nets in Kochi.